Theme Of Free Will In Sophocles 'Oedipus'

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The Freedom of Oedipus is the Freedom of Thebes: Why Oedipus Cannot be Free Until the Truth is Exposed In Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, the theme of human fate versus free will is explored in the age-old tale of the king of Thebes who inadvertently murdered his father and married his mother. The play opens with Oedipus, a strong man and compassionate leader whom the audience can easily admire. By the closing of the play, a journey of self-discovery has lead Oedipus to his fall from kingship and exile from the city he loves, as well as the suicide of his wife and his self-blinding. However, though Oedipus begins in a position of power, he is not truly free. Living in fear of a destiny once foretold and burdened by his kingdom’s sufferings, Oedipus does not truly reach freedom until the truth of his situation is exposed. Oedipus finds his vocation as the saviour …show more content…

Sophocles does not provide background information as it would have been common knowledge. Prior to the opening of Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus has left his home and adoptive parents in Corinth in an attempt to escape a prophecy which declares that Oedipus will murder his father and marry his mother. Not knowing that his true parents are Jocasta and Laius, King and Queen of Thebes, Oedipus makes his way towards their city. Along the way, he kills a man travelling with a group who are later revealed to be Laius and his subjects. Oedipus continues and arrives at the Sphinx who has terrorized Thebes until someone solves her riddle. As Oedipus becomes the first to solve the riddle and defeat the Sphinx, he also saves the town of Thebes and is offered a marriage to the newly widowed Queen Jocasta in gratitude. Years later, at the opening of the play, the gods have brought a plague upon Thebes. The citizens look toward their former saviour for help, not knowing that the solution to this problem will eventually end in their king’s

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